Ellie James is a very talented volleyball player. She was a four-year starter for Bishop England and a three-time Class AA state player of the year.
She also is one tough cookie.
Last weekend, she played in the North-South All-Star Game. In a Friday practice leading up to the match, she fell and hit her head. Unfazed, she played in the match the next day and was getting ready to switch gears. She plays on the Bishops’ basketball team and was set to play in a tournament on Sunday.
But she experienced dizziness and had an on-going headache. She was diagnosed with a concussion and has to miss Sunday’s hoops contest.
“I didn’t realize I had suffered a concussion said,” James said. “I felt OK during the game. I didn’t feel bad until after I played.”
It was the final appearance on a high school volleyball court for James, and it capped an impressive career. She finished her four-year run with 226 aces, 747 digs, 261 blocks and 1,286 kills. She also finishes her career as The Post and Courier’s volleyball player of the year.
“It’s hard to believe that I will no longer to play volleyball at Bishop England,” said James. “I had a lot of great memories, but winning the state championship as a senior heads the list. The teams in our regions were very competitive and pushed us to a higher level.”
Cindy Baggott, who led the Bishops to the national record, and Wando’s Alexis Glover, who set the state record with her 745th career victory, share the coach of the year honors.
“(James) came in as a freshman started and played all the way around,” Baggott said. “It’s pretty unheard of for a freshman to make an impact at Bishop England, but she did. We gave her a lot of responsibility as a freshman and she rose to the occasion. She was versatile and could play a lot of positions. There was a lot of pressure, but she handled it well.”
James, a three-time All-Lowcountry selection, isn’t all about volleyball. She spent a week in Honduras as a volunteer, helping with the renovation of children’s home and orphanage with other members of St. Andrew Church in Mount Pleasant.
It was a memorable year for volleyball in the Lowcountry and the All-Lowcountry team is loaded with talent. The Bishops won their 13th straight SCHSL Class AA title and set a national record with 23 overall. Porter-Gaud won its third straight SCISA Class AAA title over rival Ashley Hall and Wando High School coach Alexis Glover set the state record for career victories.
James edged out Porter-Gaud’s Julia McAvoy for player of the year honors. The rest of the team includes Natalie Tucker, Wando; Christine Quinn, Ashley Hall; Lexie Meyer, Porter-Gaud and MacKenzie Lesemann, Wando.
Follow Philip M. Bowman on Twitter: @pandcphil